Tara! Mickie! Jesse! Knockout Championship!
There is no better couple in all of pro wrestling than Tara and Jesse. This is not opinion, but clear and convincing fact. I dare for someone to try and tell me differently.
Nobody? That's what I thought.
They play off of each other so well that it is a shame the pair will break up eventually. I know they will break up because they are bad guys, and bad guys always get into fights with one another. I would love to see them last, but pro wrestling is a moral story where bad guys have to get what is coming to them in the end.
It would be an odd situation if the bad guys found true love while the good guys are struggling to even find happiness.
The thought actually crossed my mind that tonight would be the night the cracks start to show. It would make sense for a returning Mickie James to take the Knockout Championship, commencing Tara and Jesse's downfall.
And then, Velvet Sky made her return to Impact Wrestling.
The only reason for Sky to return is if she was going to get a shot at the strap. It makes far more sense for the heel champion Tara to drop the belt to Sky instead of taking a roundabout route from Tara to Mickie to Sky.
Then again, this is TNA, so anything is possible.
RVD! King! X Division Championship!
I'm going to be honest with you Cagesiders. I have no clue why this match is happening. I know Kenny King was a finalist to challenge Rob Van Dam for the X Division Championship on last week's Impact Wrestling (Dec. 6). I know Austin Aries was the man who would eventually get the shot. I know Aries "lost" when Bully Ray interfered in the match.
Then, three days later, King gets a shot at RVD for the strap.
Whatever the reason behind this decision, it's certainly not the worst matchup TNA could have put together. RVD has become painfully predictable recently, but he's still good for a fun spot or two. King is a great talent who can hold his own in the ring. While it is unlikely for Van Dam to drop the title -- because Van Dam always wins, you see -- it still should be an exciting match.
Guerrero! Hernandez! Morgan! Ryan! TNA Tag Team Championship!
Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez, on paper, should be an amazing tag team. Chavo has the pedigree and experience to be exciting and get the fans fired up. Hernandez has the size and power to give the team credibility. Both work pretty well together, and they have played their roles as expected.
So why are they so damn boring?
It is something that I cannot put my finger on, but I just don't care about these two as champions. Yet here they are, with the gold around their waists -- or in Hernandez's case, around his necklace.
Matt Morgan and Joey Ryan, on the other hand, are the epitome of cool. Morgan is a freak of a man and is legitimately intimidating. Ryan is sleazy, greasy, vulgar, and entertaining as hell. These are two men who I want to see carrying the promotion's tag team titles.
This being TNA, though, we know what direction the match will go.
Aces & 8s! Angle! Bischoff! Brisco! Joe!
Aces & 8s continues to be one of the most bizarre groups in pro wrestling today.
The masked gang has gone from a group who were threatening the very foundation of the promotion to intimating a bunch of midcarders. They have taken out Kurt Angle, Magnus, and Eric Young. They captured Joseph Park earlier, but Mr. Park seems to have disappeared from television without really getting his revenge. Bully Rey was pissed off that his brother Devon was a member of the group, but he was eventually spun off into a love angle with Brooke Hogan.
Situations are constantly starting and stopping with the group, and it's frustrating to try and give them any attention.
Things are finally looking to get back on track, though... Devon captured the Television Championship from Samoa Joe on last week's Impact. Aces & 8s is back in the main event with its deal with Bobby Roode (which we'll get to later). We may even find out who is leading the group.
Maybe. Possibly. Hopefully.
The smart money for this match is Garrett Bischoff and/or Wes Brisco will reveal themselves to have been in cahoots with Aces & 8s the entire time. It's not something anyone is really excited about, but TNA has gone too far down this rabbit hole to pull back. The promotions best bet is to just move forward with this angle. Maybe there will be no "big names" that will shock the fans. That's perfectly fine. Now is the time to finally bring everything into focus.
Aces & 8s is probably not going to go away anytime soon, but at the very least, this might start to make a little bit of sense.
Daniels! Styles! One! Last! Match! Maybe!
There is nothing more to say about this match that hasn't been said over the past year-plus. AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels used to be best friends. Then they started hating each other. Daniels has done some dastardly things, such as say Styles was having an affair with Dixie Carter. Styles took it in stride and defeated Daniels in a match. Daniels would turn around and say Styles got a crackhead pregnant. Styles took it in stride and defeated Daniels in a match. Daniels then called Styles a loser.
A step down, yes. But the man can only be so dastardly.
Styles took it in stride and will now face Daniels in a match. Styles will most likely win this match. TNA will tell us this will be the last match between the two.
TNA is also most likely lying to us. Again.
This will be a great match that has no reason for existing, and no tangible consequences.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes a match is just a match.
Aries! Bully! Brooke! Hulk! Love! Hate! Family Feud!
Occasionally, even when a story is so completely stupid, it is worth paying attention to.
It seems that Bully Ray has been "dropping the leg" on Brooke Hogan backstage. Austin Aries, being the rapscallion that he is, decided to call the pair out on their hanky panky. Hulk Hogan, being a loving, mature, responsible father, did not aprove of these two love birds countering each others finishers. Hulk also did not appreciate Aries and Bully trying to take control of the show and set up a match between themselves. He is a man of principal, and refuses to be prodded into something he does not want to do.
That is, he refused until Brooke told her father that he shouldn't be so mean to "Mark." This is funny, because "Mark" is Bully's real name. Hulk recongized that Brooke breaking kayfabe meant she was obviously sleeping with "The Man With The Iron Calves."
So in the hopes that Bully and Aries beat each other senseless, he created a match for the two of them.
Yes, this sounds incredibly stupid on paper. And it is pretty stupid in practice. However, that doesn't mean you should dismiss it outright.
Bully and Aries are incredible at what they do. They have taken something that shouldn't work and made it entertaining television. I dare you to watch Impact Wrestling and try to turn away when they are on the screen.
You can't do it.
You may hate Hulk Hogan for what he's done over the past few years -- or few decades -- and you would be entirely right. But he's not actually that bad within this story. He is playing an overprotective father who loves his daughter and wants her to be safe. As any father knows, though, you can't control your children forever.
But unlike most parents, he has the ability to make those bothering his daughters pay.
If you peel back the backstage politics, the history, the crap that clouds our judgment, this is a story about a family in chaos. About a father losing his daughter to love. About two people who want to be together, even though there are forces pulling them apart. About a jealous, spiteful man who wants the world to be as miserable as he is. This is a tale that only Shakespeare and pro wrestling can tell.
If you want to mock this because you see the name Hogan, go right ahead. You'll only be robbing yourself.
Hardy! Roode! TNA World Heavyweight Championship!
My, oh my. Looks like things have finally gotten interesting in TNA's main event.
Ever since Bobby Roode won the #1 Contendership from James Storm, he and Jeff Hardy were having a pretty bland feud. Hardy is the "weird" babyface, who is TNA's most popular star. Roode, is the diabolical heel who consistently draws the most heat from the Impact Zone. The two were on a collision course to face off at Final Resolution for the TNA World Heavyweight Championship. Hardy was most likely going to get the W, but there was enough doubt, it could conceivably go for Roode.
Not a bad set up, per se, but nothing all that exciting.
Then on last week's Impact, Aces & 8s were suddenly flushed with cash. They had moved from their basement clubhouse to a pretty sweet setup. They had a bunch of half-naked bitties around to entertain them. Things were looking up for the masked gang.
And why were Aces & 8s rolling in dough? Why, it seems "The IT Factor" himself had paid the gang to take out Hardy to close the show.
It's little things like this that get fans excited about an angle. Aces & 8s is back to being relevant in the main event. There is serious doubt over whether or not Hardy will be able to overcome the odds to retain the title. Roode has the talent to take Hardy one-on-one, but he has the Machiavellian mindset to know that he should put himself in the best position to win.
Of course, Machiavelli had some wise words about hiring mercenaries; don't do it. They are undisciplined, cowardly, unfaithful, and can turn on their employees at a moments notice.
This leaves some serious questions about what will happen tonight. Can Hardy retain even with everything stacked against him? Will Roode win by his own means, or with outside help? And if Aces & 8s gets involved, will the group remain loyal to Roode, or reveal any alternative motives?
I'm not sure of the answers to these questions, and, as always, this is a good thing.
Of course, this being TNA, there is always the option of a smoz finish that pisses off all the fans. I have to give credit where credit is due, though. The main event has been disciplined over the past few months. Wins have been clean and decisive. Even if some shenanigans go down tonight, I am willing to let the story play out.
Things are getting interesting in the Impact Zone. You wouldn't be a true pro wrestling fan if you didn't at least check it out.
Hopefully, this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join Nolan, myself, and the entire CSS Sunday night gang in the live blog right here.